Astro A50 X review – A multi-platform triumph
The Astro A50X headset may be the only gaming headset I ever need to use again. Its Playsync feature is a game-changer that truly makes it effortless to run multiple games consoles, a PC, and a Bluetooth connection through a single wireless headset. There just aren’t any alternatives that can offer this level of ease of use across so many devices. What’s more, the A50X sounds fantastic. Its audio is packed with dynamism while its microphone is a big step up over most competitors. That’s all as you’d hope given its very high price but a high price isn’t always a guarantee of the quality or features this headset offers.
- Playsync is a game-changer
- All-round audio quality
- Great microphone
- Cable managment can be a nightmare
It has been years since the original Astro A50 made its debut, and in all that time it hasn’t changed. However, with the A50 X, Astro – now owned by Logitech – has made some big changes, adding one of the most useful and unique features we’ve seen on a gaming headset. That feature is known as Playsync, and it lets the A50 X connect to multiple consoles, a PC, and a Bluetooth device all at the same time via a single wireless connection.
It’s easy for me to label the Astro A50 X as one of the best gaming headsets available because it just does it all without missing a beat. If you’re after a single headset to take mastery over your whole gaming domain, this is the headset for you.
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The headline feature of the Astro A50 X is Playsync, a proprietary technology that allows you to connect up to two consoles, a PC, and a Bluetooth device to the base station, and then switch between them wirelessly at the press of a button.
When Logitech was first showing this feature off, I was impressed but a little apprehensive that it would work as well as advertised. In reality, it works exactly as Logitech suggested. With a single button tap, I’m able to switch between console and PC connections, while the A50 X base unit even switches outputs on my TV to ensure I’m on the right one. This is a game-changer for anyone with multiple consoles, and while it’s advertised for the current generation, it is compatible with PS4 and Xbox One too.
I had some initial concerns about whether there would be latency issues, as you’re trailing not just the audio, but the video connection through the Astro A50 X base, but there is yet to be an instance of any perceptible lag, and the base unit is capable of 4K, 120Hz passthrough so you won’t be sacrificing quality there either. The PC connection is not achieved through video passthrough, meaning you don’t have to worry about being capped at 120Hz.
Looking past Playsync, the headset uses Logitech’s 40mm Pro G Graphene audio drivers and includes Dolby Atmos, Windows Sonic, and 3D audio (PS5 only) support. The microphone has a 16-bit, 42KHz sampling rate, which surpasses the typical range for most gaming headsets. You can also customize the EQ via the G Hub app for Windows and mobile.
With a premium price, comes a premium design. The Astro A50 X looks like an expensive device, but behind this initial impression is a well-built gaming headset that I’m sure will stand the test of time.
The headset itself is open back, which I find personally makes for a more comfortable overall experience, thanks to the more open, breathable nature of the earcups. You do of course miss out on the sound-blocking ability of closed-back designs, though, so this won’t be a headset suited to tournaments, noisier households, or taking out and about with you.
The Astro A50 X uses a soft-touch fabric that leaves no marks or irritation on the skin, even after long play sessions. This fabric also features on the headband cushion while the rest of the headset will be either a Black or White matte and gloss plastic, with stainless steel sliders used for adjusting the earcups. These earcups are also interchangeable and are attached magnetically, so it is the headband, although this is clipped in and a bit more difficult to remove.
The audio controls are easy to find on the back of the right earcup, with a volume wheel, Bluetooth button, Playsync button, and a power switch all located here. The outer face of the right earcup is also all one big button that can control the balance of the game and chat audio. A flexible microphone is situated on the left earcup and is mutable by lifting it.
No audio cancellation is available, due to it being open-backed, but despite this, once gameplay had started, I found that the immersion levels were still incredibly high. It was only when nothing was playing through the headset that I could hear sounds around me with any clarity.
Nothing about the A50 X looks or feels cheap. The docking station is eyecatching and plays a more practical role thanks to the LED indicators that represent charging, Bluetooth, and which Playsync connection is currency selected.
Hooking the dock up to consoles, power, and your monitor or TV is simple, but to have three devices connected – say, an Xbox Series S, PS5, and PC – there will be a lot of cables required, and it can look messy if you have nowhere to hide them.
Beyond this, whether you buy the Astro A50 X in Black or White, the dock is matched to your headset and doesn’t look obnoxious when the headset is charging or in use. The A50 X connects to the dock via magnets for contact charging and the battery life itself maxes out at around 24 hours. This can stretch longer if you enable power saving which turns the headset off after a period of inactivity.
The audio quality of the Astro A50 X is remarkable. There is a slight disparity between the PC and console sampling rates, but this is very hard to distinguish in real-world use. I find myself playing games I’m incredibly familiar with, but hearing a completely new layer of sound that I never knew existed, typically on the lower end of the frequency scale, with the incredible bass offered by the 40mm Pro G drivers.
I do wish there were more presets to play around with in the G Hub, but with the community feature allowing you to download other players’ settings, this offsets that issue somewhat. Funnily enough, you won’t have to spend too long on the community page to realize that everyone’s opinion for what makes the best overall or game-specific EQ differs, so I would take this as a sign that you should certainly consider creating your own profiles first, just to get a feel for how it works.
On the microphone, I initially found it to be much clearer than some options I’ve used in the past, but I would argue that despite the quality, some weaknesses are showing through, and they may be the only problem holding the Astro A50 X back from perfection.
It had a habit of picking up far too much ambient noise, even when the noise gate sensitivity is brought down, meaning more noise should be required to activate the microphone. In addition to this, having the microphone half raised causes stutter and pick-up issues that almost seem like the A50 X isn’t sure if it’s supposed to be muted or not. There is a distinctive click when the microphone has reached its muted point, but if you were to try and mute quickly and not reach this point, it could make for some awkward situations.
Again, general microphone audio is fantastic, as is to be expected with a 16-bit, 48KHz sampling rate, but I find leaving it on the default overall setting in the G Hub is where the above issues were least intrusive. However, with the downloadable settings option in G Hub, if a profile is created and shared that fixes the issue, you can download it free of charge.
I can wholeheartedly recommend the Astro A50 X despite its high price. $379.99 / £359.00 is a lot to spend on a wireless gaming headset, there is no doubting that, but what you get in return in audio and microphone quality, as well as the Playsync feature, is well worth it.
Think of the Astro A50 X as a long-term investment that will see you through the rest of this console generation at the very least. The build quality is fantastic and barring a moment of bad luck (or gamer rage), there’s no reason to believe the A50 X won’t still be a relevant headset in five years.
The main reason not to consider this headset is simply that if you don’t own multiple consoles, the A50 X’s Playsync party trick becomes slightly redundant. For similar money, the SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro and Turtle Beach Stealth Pro are generally more versatile as far as mostly pure PC (with Bluetooth) headsets go while the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro offers similar PC-centric features for nearly half the price of this headset.
The Astro A50 X is the go-to headset if you own more than one console and/or a gaming PC. Setting up multiple sources is a breeze even if the cable management is sometimes nightmarish. Having everything run efficiently through the base unit simplifies the idea of owning multiple headsets or having to switch connections.
On top of this, the audio quality is first class, and customizing it through either the G Hub on PC or mobile means you have full control over how your A5 0X sounds depending on whether you want immersive surround sound, audio clarity, or just outright bass so you can almost feel explosions rocking your equilibrium
Further still, a quality microphone, comfort that enables hours of play, and a battery life that’s on par with many competitors creates a package well worth the high MSRP, if you need its multi-platform powers.